Prufrock's Page

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Unashamedly Inegalitarian

Sanford Pinsker finds much to praise in Cynthia Ozick's new collection of essays, The Din In The Head. His words, and her essays, are a clarion call to those who hold that it's always the avant garde -- who may care nothing for audience or reception -- that contributes anything meaningful in the development of the arts:

"...Ozick insists that some works of literature are better — not merely 'different,' but better — than others, and that the unfettered (read: apolitical) literary imagination continues to matter. Many writers rant, but few do it with the aplomb of the curmudgeonly Ozick. She scolds and scours — all in an effort to pull down contemporary vanity and to promote writing genuinely worthy of our attention...Ozick is unapologetic about her elitism, because she was formed by a high modernism that has long ago receded. To come of age at a time when T.S. Eliot was literary culture's dominant taste-setter, when would-be novelists cut their teeth on Henry James and James Joyce, is to look on much that passes as postmodernist culture with great suspicion."


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